The Podiatrists Board operates under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. The Act was passed on 18 September 2003. Most of the provisions of this legislation came into effect on 18 September 2004. The HPCA Act replaced the profession specific legislation that had been operating.
The purpose of the Act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.
The Act is 218 pages and is divided into 7 parts.
Part 1: Preliminary and key provisions.
Part 2: Registration of and practising certificates for health practitioners.
Part 3: Competence, fitness to practise, and quality assurance.
Part 4: Complaints and discipline.
Part 5: Appeals.
Part 6: Structures and administration.
Part 7: Miscellaneous provisions, consequential amendments and repeals, and transitional provisions.
The Act has regularised scopes of practice. Scopes of practice describe the contents of the profession. The scope of practice (text or the title of the scope of practice) is required to be endorsed on each practitioner's Annual Practising Certificate. Every practitioner who practises must have a current practising certificate.
No person may claim to be practising a profession as a health practitioner of a particular kind or state, or do anything that is calculated to suggest that the person practises or is willing to practise a profession as a health practitioner of that kind unless the person:
(a) is a health practitioner of that kind: and
(b) holds a current practising certificate as a health practitioner of that kind.
Health practitioners must not practise outside their authorised scope of practice.
Practitioners who were registered under previous legislation, are deemed to be registered under the HPCA Act.
Some key definitions from the Act include:
Health practitioner or practitioner means a person who is, or is deemed to be, registered with an authority as a practitioner of a health profession.
Practise a profession or practise means to perform services that fall within the description of a health profession.
Scope of practice means any health service that forms part of a health profession.
The Act makes provision for the Director-General of Health to review the operation of the Act and a further review is due in 2012.
Link to www.legislation.govt.nz
The Act can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops.